Social Needs

Dogs that feel sad because their owners no longer spend quality time with them will act out behaviorally. Some will chew, run away, or begin house-soiling behaviors. While humans can communicate sadness or disappointment with words, dogs communicate with actions.

Don't be a fair-weather friend. Don't love your dog only if she's behaving. Love her unconditionally and search for the reasons why she may be misbehaving (if she is). Negative behavior from a dog is always a signal that something is lacking, out of balance, or stressing her.

Continue outside social exposure to

• prevent social isolation. This is especially important in the territorially protective breeds like Rottweilers and German Shepherds. During your travels to the park and pet shop, make sure your dog "meets and greets" several people (provided they want to meet your dog). Find a new environment once a month to prevent becoming bored with the same old places.

"You don't bring me flowers any-

• more." Be sure you continue to reward your "good dog" for being good! Often times we forget to acknowledge good behavior because we accidentally take it for granted. Take the time to tell her "good girl" for the simplest things that she continues to do right! Even if she's just lying on the floor chewing the correct chew toy, praise her for this good choice!

Adulthood is the season of true

• friendship and companionship. Your dog will want to spend quality time with you now more than ever. She will enjoy simply being by your side. Take the time each day to do something together as good friends would. A walk, a run, a leisurely stroll around the block, time in the yard with your favorite book and her favorite toy are all ways to share time together.

^ Q Cj If you want to "take ten" and relax on I Vj X • a lawn chair, give your dog a run with her favorite toy first. Spend at least ten minutes (maybe twenty) with her first. She will feel her needs fulfilled, and you can fulfill your needs more easily then.

Friends listen to each other. Your dog

• will hang on your every word. You will see her intently staring at you to gain either your attention or her understanding. Be equally attentive to her "words." Watch her body language, listen to her noises, watch her movements, and be sensitive to what they might be telling you.

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